Students with Disabilities

Career Services is committed to ensuring students, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship, or differing abilities, get access to whatever jobs match their goals and desires. Our goal is to help people with disabilities enhance their employability, and highlight the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. These are some resources to get you started.

Campus Resources

The focus of the Disabled Students Program (DSP)’s mission is to ensure full participation and equal access to all educational activities and classes at UCSB, and to facilitate student success for students with disabilities.
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a Schedule A recruitment program that connects employers in federal government to highly motivated college students with disabilities.  It serves as the fastest, easiest, and most direct pathway for eligible students who are eager to begin work in federal government.  Opportunities available range from summer internships to full-time positions and exist for ALL class levels in ALL fields!  Applications open in late August and close in early October of each year. 
To be eligible for 2019 WRP, you must:
     -Be a current U.S. Citizen;
     -Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at UCSB on a substantially full-time basis OR have graduated with a degree in April 2017 or later;
     -AND have an intellectual, severe physical, or psychiatric disabilitiy under the Schedule A hiring authority.  
If you are unsure whether you qualify, consult the Schedule A Checklist.
How to apply to WRP:
     Step 1. To begin your application, please click on the student registration button at and complete the initial registration form.  Registration is open from late August 2018 - October 16th, 2018 at 11:59pm PST. 
     Step 2. BOctober 17th at 11:59pm PST, upload your final documents (resume, unofficial or official transcript, and an optional letter of recommendation) and contact your Campus Coordinator with any accommodations/room space needs.  By December 1, 2018, it is HIGHLY recommended that you upload a Schedule A Letter to state that you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability.  Your Schedule A Letter does not need to state the specific nature of the disability, detail medical history, or explain any needs for accommodation, but it must be written by a licensed medical/rehab professional OR federal/state disability agency, signed, and printed on official letterhead (see sample letter).  
     Step 3. All applicants who complete Step 1 & 2 on time will be scheduled for a phone interview with a WRP Recruiter between October 29, 2018 - November 19, 2018.  If you think you could benefit from an interview accommodation (ex: ASL interpreter, captioning services, Skype/virtual interview, written interview, extended time, questions in advance), please email your Campus Coordinator.  Applicants who pass their phone interview will be placed into a government recruiting database and can be contacted by various federal employers January 2019 - June 2019 for summer positions, and up until the end of the calendar year for permanent positions.  
For more information about the program, watch the Student Guide to WRP video and read success stories from past applicants!  For questions, please email your Campus Coordinator,

Tips for Accommodations and Disclosure

Is my disability eligible for accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations for people with qualifying disabilities are provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they do not pose an undue hardship to an employer.  This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  For more information on whether your disability qualifies for reasonable accommodations under ADA, visit    

If you are applying to the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) and meet the WRP qualifications for disability (see “WRP”) all policies for reasonable accommodations are guided by ADA.  

What types of accommodations could be available to me?

Under ADA, accommodations vary widely.  They can include modifying policies, restructuring jobs, creating more effective work spaces, and much more!  Reasonable accommodations can be requested at any time throughout one's employment. There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:

* Modifications or adjustments to a job application process.

* Modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed.

* Modifications or adjustments that enable the enjoyment of equal benefits and privileges of employment.

Should I disclose a disability to a potential employer?

Disclosing a disability is YOUR personal decision!  It is not necessary or required to disclose (but employers may ask if you would like to do so voluntarily).

Generally, it is helpful for you to disclose a disability when:

            * Sharing the information is needed to request accommodations (for a qualifying disability) to perform the job well.

            * Sharing the information will help your employer better understand the context of a visible disability (for example, if you don’t make eye contact with others naturally, or you talk about a lot different topics quickly).

            * Sharing the information upfront is important to you working in an environment that openly values differences in ability.

It is generally NOT helpful for you to disclose a disability solely for a potential employer to understand who you are as a person.  While some employers will respond positively to this, certain instances of disclosure (e.g. invisible disabilities that do not require accommodations) can be less advantageous for you.  ADA prohibits discrimination against qualifying disabilities that require reasonable accommodations, but discrimination does still occur.  Your decision to disclose should be focused on your ability to do the required job tasks.

When should I disclose a disability to a potential employer?

IF you have decided that it is helpful for you to disclose a disability, the timing of your disclosure is very important.  Do you disclose during your application materials?  During your interview?  After an offer is made?
Depending on your disability and level of comfort, your answers to these questions may vary.  Strategically, it can be important to not disclose too early, but also to not disclose too late, after your performance has already been affected.  When choosing the best time for disclosure, you may wish to use the general guidelines below.

For visible disabilities: These disabilities are best disclosed during the first meeting in which your potential employer physically sees you (usually a first interview).  A natural time to bring this up during an interview can be during a strengths or weaknesses question; address your disability and explain how it has helped create your uniquely valuable qualities and accomplishments (resourcefulness, innovation, and resilience are just some of your many strengths)!  It is typically not advantageous to disclose visible disabilities beforehand on application materials, unless you are specifically asked.

For invisible disabilities: These disabilities are best disclosed if accommodations are required.  If you know that you require reasonable accommodations (see below for more info), the best time to have this conversation is usually at the end of an in-person interview or after an offer is made.

For WRP or other recruitment programs for people with disabilities: These programs actively recruit people with disabilities, which establishes a safer space for disclosure.  In these instances, it is typically best to disclose as early as the application materials, and to discuss how your difference in ability has given you uniquely valuable strengths.  Note that for WRP, you do not need to specify what your actual disability is.

If I choose to disclose my disability, how should I do it?

Under ADA, an employer must have reasonable belief that an accommodation will be needed to perform job functions.  Reasonable belief can be gained because of an obvious visible disability or because of an invisible disability that you have voluntarily disclosed.

Generally, it is best to begin your disclosure through a conversation with your potential employer.  A helpful phrase can be “You might have noticed that I…” and explain how it won’t affect your primary responsibilities in this position.  You can then explore options and ask about the process for requesting accommodations at this organization, even if you do not know exactly what accommodations might be available.

Within 2-3 days of your conversation, it is recommended that you follow up with a written request.  Your request does not have to be in writing, but it can be helpful for records.  Email is usually fine for this request.  You do not need to be overly specific about your disability in order to receive reasonable accommodations under ADA.  You may want to include the following in a written request for accommodations:

* Identify yourself as a person with a disability, your specific needs, and the job tasks that are affected.

* State that you are requesting accommodations under ADA because of your qualifying disability.

* Describe your ideas for reasonable accommodations.

* Attach medical documentation IF needed for reasonable belief.

* Ask the employer to respond to your accommodation request within a reasonable amount of time.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free confidential consultation service that can provide guidance and recommendations on  job accommodations in the workplace, as well as provide expertise on issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations, and disability disclosure. JAN has experts that understand all types of disabilities and the types of accommodations an individual might need. (Everyone who calls will have the chance to talk to a JAN representative personally.)  To contact JAN, go to, email, or call (800) 526-7234.

What can an employer ask about a disability before hiring?

Please review this very important resource from the EEOC for guidance on pre-employment questions related to disabilities.  

You can read additional tips about accommodations and disclosure on the National Collaborative On Workforce and Disability publications page and the Learn How To Become disabilities career guide.


Programs and Organizations

Able to Work
Able-Disabled Advocacy (A-DA) is a non-profit organization  that provides employment and training services to individuals with all types of disabilities and other barriers to employment.

American Foundation for the Blind
The American Foundation for the Blind removes barriers, creates solutions, and expands possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A guide for people with disabilities seeking employment.

California Department of Rehabilitation
The California Department of Rehabilitation works in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders to provide services and advocacy resulting in employment, independent living and equality for individuals with disabilities.

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSWD)
COSWD offers many opportunities to connect with higher education professionals, other employers and college students with disabilities.

Disability Benefits 101
Disability Benefits 101 gives you tools and information on health coverage, benefits, and employment. You can plan ahead and learn how work and benefits go together.

Disability Rights California
The mission of the Disability Rights CA is to advance the rights of Californians with disabilities through education and support.

Equal Opportunity Publication (EOP)
Equal Opportunity Publications, Inc. (EOP) has led the way in diversity recruitment with a portfolio of seven national career magazines, a diversity website, online job board, and Career Expos for women, members of minority groups, and people with disabilities.

Job Accomodation Network
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
ODEP's mission is to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Office of Personnel Management
Overview of federal employment for students with disabilities.

Ensuring children and adults with disabilities receive the education, training and employment opportunities they need to succeed.

Riley Guide
These are resources specifically set up to meet the needs or address the interests of the disabled.

Social Security Administration - Benefits for those with Disabilities
An overview of the Social Security benefits available to those with disabilities.

Talent Knows No Limits
The Talent Knows No Limits (TKNL) public information campaign serves to spread awareness of the myriad of services and resources available to the disabled job-seeking community.

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commision
This website provides information related to all the laws and rights one with disabilities has when seeking employment and in the workplace.

Wright Choice
WrightChoice, Inc. serves educational institutions, business and non-profit communities by sourcing and developing under-represented talent.  Their services focus on career and professional development, job readiness, internship placement, disability inclusion and diversity training.


Professional Associations

American Association of the Advancement of Science
Offers outstanding paid, 10 week internships through Entry Point to students with disabilities majoring in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Computer Science and Economics.

American Association of People with Disabilities
AAPD works to improve the lives of people with disabilities by acting as a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. Also look at the Job Board the AAPD website has to offer!

California Council of the Blind
The mission of the California Council of the Blind (CCB) is to gain full independence and equality of opportunity for all blind and visually impaired Californians.

Learning Disabilities Association of America
Learning disabilities association of America (LDA) is dedicated to identifying causes and promoting prevention of learning disabilities and to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families by encouraging effective identification and intervention, fostering research, and protecting their rights under the law

Lime Connect
Lime Connect is a global not for profit organization that's rebranding disability through achievement. We do that by attracting, preparing and connecting high potential university students & alumni who happen to have disabilities for scholarships, internships, The Lime Connect Fellowship Program and full time careers with our corporate partners - the world's leading corporations.

National Business & Disability Council
The National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center offers job seekers with disabilities the opportunity to search our database for current job postings. Please note, job seekers utilizing these resources must be a U.S. citizen or a documented alien legally authorized to work in the United States.

National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind can help you: Find hope and move forward after vision loss. Access local and nationwide networks of blind people who can provide information and support about all aspects of living, working, learning, and thriving as a blind person. Meet and make friends with blind people who share your profession, hobbies, interests, or goals. Learn about and select the right technology for your active and productive life as a blind person.


Job Links

Ability Jobs
The Goal of Ability Jobs is to enable people with disabilities to enhance their professional lives by providing a dedicated system for finding employment. By posting job opportunities, or searching resumes, employers can find qualified persons with disabilities as well as demonstrate their affirmative action and open door policies.

Ability Links
AbilityLinks is the nation's leading Disability Employment community where businesses post jobs and search resumes, and job seekers who self-identify having a disability, post resumes and apply for jobs - No information about disability type is asked. Skilled AbilityLinks Counselors, who also have a disability, provide information, referrals and the human touch!

Bender Consulting Services
At Bender Consulting Services, Inc. the mission is to recruit and hire people with disabilities for competitive career opportunities in the public and private sectors.

A government-run job board with listings from across the nation from companies specifically seeking employees with disabilities.
Their commitment is to provide an online, targeted recruiting site that effectively connects proactive employers with job seekers with disabilities.

Emerging Leaders Internship Program
The Emerging Leaders Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities, funded by The UPS Foundation and coordinated by the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center, is a highly competitive program that places top undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities in fulfilling internships nationwide that also provide them with meaningful leadership development and networking opportunities.

Entry Point
Entry Point! identifies and recruits students with apparent and non-apparent disabilities studying in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business for internship and co-op opportunities.
“Careers & Community for Talented People with Disabilities.” A national employment and social networking portal that connects job seekers with disabilities with employers committed to hiring them.

National Business and Disability Council
Provides a free resume database service as well as job postings by companies wishing to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce.

Pro Able
Find a job that works for you at a company that's recruiting people with disabilities.

Project Hired
Project HIRED is Northern California’s premier provider of job search, training and placement services for adults with disabilities who desire to enter or re-enter the workforce. Project HIRED was created with the commitment to empower individuals with disabilities to become independent job seekers and to focus on ability.

We Connect Now
We Connect Now is dedicated to uniting people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on college students and access to higher education and employment issues.